Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Hanging Girl by Jussi-Adler Olsen


I read Jussi Adler-Olsen's first novel, The Keeper of the Lost Causes, in French, I loved it and read it in one sitting between Québec and New York. What I like about this book, was that even if I quickly guessed the culprit, Morck / Assad dynamic duo gave a lot of plus in that book.

The Hanging Girl, the sixth book in the Department Q series is now released, in English. So I was really happy to read this book, even though I have not read all the books between the first and last one.

The first point is, clearly, a lot happened between the first and the sixth volume. Two people have joined the team and I don't have a clue why or how but there's a lot going on between them. So it is certainly not a big deal and it doesn't unhinge the reading but it adds to the fact that I enjoyed this book less than the other.

I do not know if it's the English translation but I struggled to immerse myself in the story. Among others, I haven't found the funny, ironic or cynical tone that made Morck laziness enjoyable. Same way as in the first book, you'll very too quickly know who did it and even why, except that if in the first book the two "partner in crime", the ambiance and the unwinding stress added much to the story, this time no. They just trample, Morck is annoying what with his spinelessness and not wanting to do anything, the culprit keep killing in piece and quiet while Morck and Assad are investigating an old murder. In short, because I know the author, I was expecting for the plot to become more and more stressful, a bit of exciting stuff, some fun exchanges between the two but it happened too late in the book.

For the plus part of the book, the story is set in a sect but Adler avoids clichés and gives us a culprit whose motives are very human. And that, I admit I enjoyed. People in this sect do not seem all illuminated and they are free of their movement. In the end, it's all about good old motives of love, hatred and jealousy. Adler also shows very well that people who want to believe - in something or someone - know how not to see the truth in front of them, leaving the field open for a malicious person.

The blurb

In the middle of his usual hard-won morning nap in the basement of police headquarters, Carl Mørck, head of Department Q, receives a call from a colleague working on the Danish island of Bornholm. Carl is dismissive when he realizes that a new case is being foisted on him, but a few hours later, he receives some shocking news that leaves his headstrong assistant Rose more furious than usual. Carl has no choice but to lead Department Q into the tragic cold case of a vivacious seventeen-year-old girl who vanished from school, only to be found dead hanging high up in a tree. The investigation will take them from the remote island of Bornholm to a strange sun worshipping cult, where Carl, Assad, Rose, and newcomer Gordon attempt to stop a string of new murders and a skilled manipulator who refuses to let anything—or anyone—get in the way.

In a nutshell

The end of the story is better and it gets more interesting but I'm overall a little disappointed by this book. It is a 3/5 for me.

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.

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